Feel the Beat: How One Brand With 7M+ Downloads Educates Musicians on the Modern Metronome

Soundbrenner company images

If you’ve ever tried learning how to play an instrument, you know: It’s not easy.

Even for talented individuals—and especially for the rhythmically challenged, as I self identify—becoming a musician requires time, practice, and usually a metronome.

Metronomes may not be the flashiest part of making music, but they’re crucial to keeping proper time. And Julian Vogels and Florian Simmendinger have made impressive strides in giving metronomes a makeover.

Florian and Julian co-founded Soundbrenner, which provides wearable metronomes and a metronome app that vibrates to allow musicians to feel the beat as they play.

Soundbrenner was originally founded in Germany in 2014, but quickly set up offices in Hong Kong and grew to be a worldwide brand with customers across the world.

In the midst of this global growth, I connected with Florian, co-founder, Olly Scanlon, head of ecommerce, and Julianne Dionisio, community manager, to hear what they’re doing to help Soundbrenner strike a chord with their customers.

Soundbrenner team in their Hong Kong office

Read on to hear more about their Facebook advertising strategy, their browse abandonment email series, and more.

Aubrey Harper: Tell me about Soundbrenner’s mission and vision. 

Florian Simmendinger: We feel a lot of the tools that musicians use today were developed decades or even centuries ago. They work against them, not for them. We want to change that.

We firmly believe musicians aren’t born—they’re crafted from practice. And to deliver the best possible practice experience, we’ve created wearable tools, combined with great software. Ultimately, we’re on a mission to help everybody become a great musician.

Aubrey Harper: Soundbrenner has two very different offerings: A free metronome app and a wearable metronome. Which came first, app or wearable? 

Florian Simmendinger: We first had the idea for our wearable. No matter the skill level or instrument, every musician should regularly practice with a metronome click and most musicians do.

But if you ask them, they think it’s annoying and almost torture to use it. Our goal was to make a device that replaces the click with a silent vibration. Musicians could simply feel the beat while practicing.

While we were developing the hardware, we realized we also needed a companion mobile app to offer more advanced features. We had the idea to design it so musicians who don’t own our wearable could use the app. We thought perhaps it would catch on as a popular app and act as advertising for our devices.

We struck gold with the idea and it went better than we could have ever imagined. Today, our mobile app has over 7 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of musicians use it every week.

"Today, our mobile app has over 7 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of musicians use it every week."

Florian Simmendinger, co-founder, Soundbrenner

Aubrey Harper: Does your messaging and target customer differ for a wearable versus an app? How do you approach marketing the wearables and app? 

Florian Simmendinger: The large majority of our app downloads come organically. We try to create the best possible free-to-use product, and we’re constantly listening to customer feedback and iterating on the design and usability of the app.

This is reflected in our rankings on both the Google Play and iOS app stores where we rank in the top three for “metronome” in almost all markets. In some important markets, like the United States, we even rank number one.

We also pay very close attention to our search engine optimization on our website to increase exposure.

Our approach to the marketing for our wearable is very different. The idea of a vibrating metronome is very novel, so it takes a lot of education to convert musicians who are used to practicing with traditional metronomes.

We rely on a lot of user generated content (UGC) and testimonials from professional musicians to convey the unique selling points and benefits of our wearables over apps or traditional metronomes.

Aubrey Harper: I know one of the channels you use to market the wearables is email—has email marketing always been part of your strategy?

Julianne Dionisio: In 2018, we were using MailChimp, but email wasn’t a primary channel for us. There was little segmentation and we knew little about the customer journey through email.

We mainly used Mailchimp to send email verification, shipping confirmation and app updates, and the occasional promotional campaign. We mainly used email marketing for housekeeping—we didn’t think about customer retention or revenue.

After we migrated to Klaviyo a year ago, we really started to invest time in building our automated emails and other behavior-based email flows.

Aubrey Harper: How do you find new customers and build your email list? 

Olly Scanlon: We’ve been running paid lead generation campaigns on Facebook for over six months now and we’ve been seeing great results. The ability to sync audiences between Facebook and Klaviyo has allowed us to automate the entire process, which gives us time to try out different types of incentives, from free music guides to secret discount codes to giveaways.

This technique has helped us generate thousands of email subscribers per month, and attribute which campaigns and funnels are converting best.

"The ability to sync audiences between Facebook and Klaviyo has allowed us to automate the entire process, which gives us time to try out different types of incentives. This technique has helped us generate thousands of email subscribers per month, and attribute which campaigns and funnels are converting best. "

Olly Scanlon, head of ecommerce, Soundbrenner

Aubrey Harper: What’s Soundbrenner’s goal with email marketing? 

Julianne Dioniso: We restructured our email marketing strategy, making sure that we consistently put out campaigns that can both educate and nurture the community about our products and music practice.

Our ratio is usually three to one: three music-related, educational emails versus one promotional email.

Here’s an example of one of Soundbrenner’s educational emails:

Example of Soundbrenner's educational email

Florian Simmendinger: Since the concept of our wearable is new, it usually takes around one to two months from signing up until purchasing a wearable. Email plays a huge role in consistently nurturing customers.

One of the easy wins we pursue is our browsing abandonment flow. If someone has visited a product page more than three times and opens our emails more than twice a month, they enter into a two-point email journey with an exclusive offer.

Check out this cheeky email from Soundbrenner’s browse abandonment flow:

Browse abandonment email example

Olly Scanlon: This browse abandonment email performs well and customers seem to like it because of the direct subject line, “We saw you checking us out.” Customers can see the irony and it makes them more likely to engage.

Aubrey Harper: How are you making Soundbrenner’s automated emails successful?

Julianne Dionisio: We make sure that we keep our open rates high by consistently A/B testing subject lines. We’ve been trying different fonts, tones, and sending times and days.

Here’s one highly visual abandoned cart email Soundbrenner tested:

Image-heavy abandoned cart email example

In contrast, here’s a plain text version the team tested:

Plain text version of the abandoned cart email.
Julianne Dionisio: From testing our abandoned cart series, we’ve learned our customers prefer plain text, simple visuals, and a light-hearted tone. In terms of time delay, our first email is sent 15 minutes straight after they leave their cart, and we send another one within 12 hours.

Attention span usually lasts two to three days for the low-hanging fruits for abandoned carts. Since optimizing the series, we’ve seen open rates as high as 54% with 20%-30% higher revenue.

Marketing in perfect harmony

Soundbrenner’s technology would have certainly come in handy for me as I learned to play the piano decades ago, and I’m excited for the next generation of musicians to grow up with this innovative approach to music making.

From Soundbrenner’s success with Facebook ads, email marketing, and app downloads, Soundbrenner’s product is already resonating with musicians across the world.

Plus, their educational style and focus on testing in their marketing creates true value for customers that’s sure to lead to brand growth in the years to come.

Looking for fresh ways to get new customers? Check out these three tips on customer acquisition.

Want to use the same tool Soundbrenner uses for their data-driven, customer-focused email marketing?

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